‘This is Clint. He is the poet!’
She kept introducing me to people like this with a big smile on her face.
I’d respond with a,
‘Uhhh, no, I am not a poet; but I am Clint. Nice to meet you.’
Then I would shoot her a nervous glance at her, asking her to stop introducing me to people that way.
She’d laugh at me and how I squirmed at being called the poet.
At one point,
I told one of the guys,
‘Listen, I am not a writer. I am a fighter. That’s who I am. Writing is just something I had to do.’
‘But I’ve read some of your stuff, you’re a writer man. You can be both, you know? You can be a writer and a fighter.’
‘No, I don’t think I can. There isn’t enough time in the day for it all. And I want to fight.’
Someone new would come and sit with us; and she’d introduce all of us that were squished around a small table in the dive bar.
‘This is: Wolfgang, Lindsay, Nina, Ocean, Robert, Jenn and this is THE poet!’
They all knew that some of my poetry was about her. A few of them had read some, or they were told all about me. In her circle of people I was infamous now. And they were meeting the man behind the words for the first time.
As uncomfortable as I was, a part of me enjoyed her introducing me to her people like this;
and to be honest, I did have it coming.
‘For the love of God, could you please stop introducing me like that!’
She smiled her big smile and said,
‘Sorry! You’re right. I won’t do it again. Promise.’
Then another lady walked in and tried to sit around our table.
‘This is Clint! He’s THE poet!’
I started to introduce myself as Bear after that. I was jokingly overcompensating for the emasculation this lady was doing to me. I turned to Wolfgang and said,
‘I know I am not a good writer right now, but I figured if I keep trying, one day, I’ll be decent. But I do know that I am a great fighter. I’ve put in the ten years. I’ve only been writing for a year. Sometimes I feel pulled in two different directions…’
Another friend of hers came to join us.
‘This is –
–I am Bear, nice to meet you.’